Northampton teenager had 'unhealthy' interest in knives in years leading up to fatal stabbing

A Northampton teenager jailed for manslaughter had an "unhealthy interest" in knives in the years leading up to the killing, a court heard yesterday.

Wednesday, 25th September 2019, 6:05 pm
Amari Smith was jailed yesterday for the manslaughter of Louis Ryan Menezes.
Amari Smith was jailed yesterday for the manslaughter of Louis Ryan Menezes.

But before his sentence, Northampton Crown Court heard how the 18-year-old had "a growing interest" in knives during his teenage years, including taking them to school and looking up pictures of them online.

The judge heard the evidence as she considered aggravating features in the case - during which Prosecutor John Lloyd Jones QC also revealed the 18-year-old had previous convictions for carrying knives to school.

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Amari Smith was jailed yesterday for the manslaughter of Louis Ryan Menezes.

The incident took place in December 2014, when Smith was 13-years-old.

Mr Lloyd-Jones told the court: "In that incident, this defendant cut a fellow student's coat with a knife.

"When school staff asked him if he was carrying a knife, he denied it. He was searched, and a lock knife was found in his coat."

Smith was cautioned over the incident.

The court heard how Smith had an "unhealthy and growing" interest in knives in the years leading up to the stabbing.

The 18-year-old was picked up a kitchen knife before he left home on the day in May 2018 when he killed Louis-Ryan Menezes.

During the three-week trial in August, Smith admitted on the stand in evidence that carrying a knife was "normal" for him.

Prosecutor Lloyd-Jones asked him: "When you left home that afternoon you decided to take a knife, didn't you? And that's something you've done before, isn't it? When you left home, it felt normal to pick up that knife didn't it?"

"Yes," said Smith.

Meanwhile, Smith also reportedly later lost his internet privileges at the school for downloading pictures of guns and knives from online.

And between 2015 and 2018, Smith was punished in school for 11 incidents of hostile and aggressive behaviour towards pupils and staff.

Mr Lloyd-Jones said: "Put together, we submit that this defendant had an unhealthy and growing interest in knives and carrying them."

During her sentencing yesterday, Her Honour Judge Adrienne Lucking commented that Smith had shown "no remorse" during the trial.

But his defence barrister Mr Paul Mendell QC claimed that since the trial, Smith has shown regret for the killing.

In a statement read out by Mr Mendell, Smith reportedly said: "I realise the risk of carrying a knife. It was the worst decision I could have made.

"I will never carry a knife again."

The judge ruled Smith killed Louis Ryan Menezes in a "genuine but mistaken and unreasonable act of self-defence".